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Glorious Buffalo Church to be Demolished – UPDATED September 4, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, Basics, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, persecution, sadness, secularism, shocking, Society.

I wonder if the fact that this parish seems eminently suited to offering the TLM, and is so redolent of that “negative ecclesiology” so hated by the modernists in the Church, has anything to do with the plans for its destruction?

Saint Ann’s Church and Shrine, an unparalleled Buffalo and Western New York treasure that equals or even tops Paris’ Notre st ann 5250Dame and New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, has been decreed profane and now faces an unforgiving wrecking ball by order of newly arrived Bishop Richard Malone. [OK, comparing this church to Notre Dame may be a bit over the top, but it does seem an irreplaceable treasure, worth great effort and expense to preserve]

Bishop Malone is a non-Western New Yorker but his decree is with the full concurrence of recently retired Bishop Kmiec who also is not a local cleric.

St Ann’s was built in the 1880’s by German immigrants from Bavaria, Austria and Bohemia, who prepaid for every quarried block before it was floated down the historic Erie Barge Canal from quarries in Lockport to the docks of the Village of Buffalo. Once there, these monstrous blocks were hauled, foot by foot, with horse drawn dredges, to the Sacred Site selected for their soon to be incomparable sanctuary.

All told, hundreds of thousands of unpaid man-hours of backbreaking work were performed over years as this magnificent edifice rose, block by block, to become one of the most important and beautiful structures in the Niagara region.

The decree to demolish this treasure was issued by Bishop Malone without accepting one of many invitations of Saint Ann’s parishioners to visit the church.

st ann tridentine250I read similarly that French officials are now opining that thousands of little-attended parishes in France are likely to be demolished over the coming decades.  Many of thse also contain incomparable works of art and treasures of the Faith. But, these parishes are so little attended, and bring in so little income, the French government (which owns and operates all the churhces of France, and has for around a century) sees clear justification in shutting them down and destroying them.

But, then, they tip their hand a bit.  Knowing that there would be many Catholics without a church within even an hour’s drive if they did demolish 3000 current churches, most of which were built in the 19th century or earlier, the French government plans to spend even more money to replace those large, mostly country, churches, with small chapels. Now, who thinks those chapels will be just a bit on the modernist side?  Who thinks those chapels will be far less compatible with those “bad, old” Catholic ideas of “negative ecclesiology” (sin, judgment, Heaven, hell, atonement, propitiation, sacrifice, mortification, etc)?  So, perhaps there are more motives than simply monetary considerations. I note that it is highly possible that the church in France – at least as far as those whoSt.Anns 1250 observe the Precepts of the Faith – will be as much as half SSPX in 20 or 30 years. This could be a preemptive move to make SSPX growth more difficult, the Society being equally disliked by the socialist government of France and most of the French hierarchy.

Back to Buffalo, there is no question it is yet another Rust Belt city whose best days are far, far behind it.  The population of Buffalo has fallen by naerly 60% since its peak in the early 50s. In fact, the population of Buffalo today is only slightly larger than it was when construction on the parish in question began.  So, it’s very likely attendance at this parish has plummeted, and this could be one of many parishes in formerly vibrant Cathoilc urban areas which can no longer pay for its own upkeep.  But, I could be wrong, I really don’t know.   I do know this parish has apparently been used for TLMs in the recent past.

One would think, and hope, that such a great treasure would be worth some investment from the Diocese of Buffalo to help keep the parish open.  In the Diocese of Salina, KS, there are a large number of beautiful 19th century parishes built by German immigrants, the membership of most of which has also collapsed.  Somehow, those parishes stay open, and are still architectural delights, as I’ve reported on this blog. I don’t know much about new Bishop Malone, but I know his predecessor, like most of the upstate NY hierarchy, was on the progressive side.

Wasn’t there some old, beautiful church, due to be torn down in Buffalo, that was bought and moved by some parish in the South?  But, It hink it was quite a bit smaller than this one.

If this was some modernist catastrophe from the 60s, no one would care if it was destroyed.  But stop tearing down our few remaining gorgeous, uplifting, holy churches!

UPDATED: Tancred at Eponymous Flower found a story that, probably due to the pushback, the Diocese is now looking to find a developer to purchase the property.  But it still won’t be a church, so what’s the point? Do we need a glorious, sacred structure like this turned over to profane uses?  Does that really help the Faith?


1. TG - September 4, 2013

So sad. Beautiful church – what I’d give to attend such a beautiful church every Sunday.

2. Woody - September 4, 2013

Yes, it was Mary Our Queen Catholic Church in Norcross, GA (just north of Atlanta) purchased the cathedral of St. Gerrard’s parish in Buffalo. It has not been transferred yet.

3. oldyoungcatholic - September 4, 2013

If only MD looked like that.

4. Raul De La Garza III (@raul_delagarza) - September 6, 2013

But, it’s obsolete and must be destroyed!

Boy, it does feel at times that I am traveling through another dimension. Come, Lord Jesus. Come!

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